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tv   American Revolution 1760 to 1778  CSPAN  September 16, 2017 10:20am-10:56am EDT

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>> are cities tour staff recently traveled to concord, new hampshire, to learn about its rich history. learn more about concord and other stops at www.c-span.org /citiestour. watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. >> next on american artifacts, a two-part visit to philadelphia's museum of american revolution. we are led on a tour of the exhibit galleries covering the through 1778. >> we ask visitors in that first gallery four questions to frame their journey. the first is how do people become revolutionaries? when they come back to the
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the third,ing george they should answer that question. the second week on a schism did the revolution survive its -- the second question we ask is how did the revolution survive its darkest hour? largest overseas expedition in european history is headed toward new york, and so the mural you see beside me is an eyewitness depiction, which we have blown up as a mural, showing five british warships in about 6000 troops and landing boats about to land on manhattan on september 15, 1776. at the time, one official soldiers saw the ship's
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gathering and said, later thought, i thought all london was a float, so it was one thing to declare independence, to tear down the king, to declare that you are now living in the american revolution, but to actually achieve american independence was going to be an effort of many more years of struggle. the first thing americans had to deal with was just survive onslaught that was coming in the in form of the british army. a really exciting opportunity to look at that transition from resistance to revolution through these two objects. these are two original revolutionary war flags. on the left, a flag made during the first year of the war. you can recognize immediately that union canton. think about that decade of nonimportation when americans are trying to not rely on important fabrics. they've used for the red here
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a piece of silk damask. this is of type of cloth that would have been used to upholster furniture and drapes. this is a homemade flag of the beginning of the war of independence. here in 1776 we have a flag after, dating and having been altered after the declaration of independence. you can see in the upper left corner, slightly different color of red. you can see how the original canton has been cut out of it. those white pieces of silk from the union have been resewn to make six on one side and seven on the other white stripes to suggest that red and white alternate stripes of the 13 states. there is the transition to revolution and the search for a new symbol to represent the united states expressed through
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two original revolutionary era flags. we go through a series of galleries which take you on a kind of chronological march through the early years of the revolutionary war. exploring as you go different communities of people who are affected or who participate in that fighting. the first is the british army. we bring back another one of our life cast figures here who's representing young soldier in his 20's, william burke who was an irish recruit in the british army, who served in the new york campaign. he enlisted just shortly before being sent to north america. then objects and weapons that reflect those forces that participated in the fighting in the campaign of 1776. then we move on. we introduce another character. this is joseph martin. probably one of the most famous american common soldiers of the revolutionary war.
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he wrote a narrative when he was an old man. it was published in 1830's. it's known to many people when it was reprinted private yankee doodle. he enlisted as young teenager. we are depicting him here during the battle of kip bay. he was on of the new england soldiers on shore when boats were anchored off kip bay. new englanders along the shore awed bympletely over- this show horse, and they did not put up much of a resistance and were driven across manhattan. that was really the story of 1776, that campaign that was documented so well in david mcculloch's book. where there was just fighting from long island around manhattan, eventually being driven across new jersey,
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washington's army by the beginning of december 1776. these are some objects that we pulled together from our collection and other lenders that illustrate american forces that were fighting in 1776. this portrait is by relatively unknown at the time artist, very famous today, named charles wilson peel. peel had been born in maryland, and was part of a large family. he was orphaned when he was relatively young. he apprenticed as a saddle maker, but showed real promise as a painter and received the patronage of some wealthier more influential people in maryland and eventually in the early 1770's painted virginia colonel named george washington and was starting to get a reputation is as a very good painter. this is a portrait of a
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philadelphian named benjamin flower. asis depicted in his uniform an officer in the continental artillery. he was one of the philadelphia the seceders, who lived in philadelphia, and marched to washington's assistance as his army was starting to fall apart after that new york campaign that have been driven through new jersey and by the first week of december, 1776, they're crossing the delaware from trenton into pennsylvania. not washington's crossing you are used to seeing in the painting in the metropolitan museum, but crossing east to west. this was really one of congress is fleeing philadelphia. there's a sense that this revolutionary effort is over and that basically the men who signed that document were all going to end up being hauled off the tower of london. charles wilson peele is part of the group of philadelphia
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soldiers who march up to reinforce washington's army. one of the men that's been with washington through that whole summer is his brother, james peel, who was serving with the maryland forces. they fought very hard at the battle of long island in august of 1776. they lost many men. all of their baggage. they were starving, nearly naked, many of them barefoot as they crossed into pennsylvania. and on the night of december 8, out, a man came staggering of the crowd up to charles wilson peel. and he didn't recognize his own brother, james. that's the scene that we've recreated with this here. it's based on charles wilson peel's own diary that he wrote at the time. he wrote a more expanded memoir of it later in life. he actually did a painting that he called the "crossing of the
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delaware." it has not survived, but he described it in a series of letters to thomas jefferson in 1818. he noted that, for him, this was the lowest moment of the revolution. he wanted to do a painting that captured the suffering of the soldiers as they were coming up out of the river and included the presence of women and children also and wanted to acknowledge their presence as camp followers and the fact that they were along and in the army and sharing the suffering and sacrifice of those who helped to win independence. peel you pass the brothers, that scene is taking , as wes thomas payne know as the author of "common sense," is with the army. he's penning an essay which he published called the "american crisis number one." that's who he writes those immortal words, "these are the times that try men souls." the summer soldier and the
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sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink in the service of his country. that he state -- he who stands it now will deserve the love and thanks of man and woman. and that is the scene that he is really seeing in front of them as he as writing that, reportedly on the head of a drum. as we move into the next gallery then, we come from that low moment -- and really, it is by mid-december 1776, things are looking bad. we lift up another one of those communities. in this case, the hessian soldiers. the german soldiers who had been hired to supplement the british army in america by king georgeiii. another teenage here. roiberg, just 17-year-old when he arrived in new york. was captured in the battle of trenton, which is the surprise reversal that takes place
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christmas night when washington crosses the delaware. try to deliver some kind of thing against the british to keep them from marching on. we tried to digitize this. we have blown up a period map that shows the location of all of this fighting and what became known as the ten crucial day. the first action that crossing of the delaware battle of trenton. you can see washington crossing. the army. washington's army then dividing marching down from the west. ,attacking the green dots, representing the hessians at trenton. that fighting taking place. then, in a series of actions over the next 10 crossing and recrossing the
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delaware culminating in the january 3, 1777 battle of princeton. this is when washington, who's been attacked by a much larger superior british force during a little remembered battle called second battle of trenton in the middle of the night, manages to slip off, leaving the british attacking the rear of the british line at princeton. this is within sight of where princeton university stands today. that fighting takes place on january 3, 1776. it was in that action that a scottish immigrant, named hugh mercer, who had served with washington during the french and indian war. he was very old friend of his. persuaded him to move to register, virginia, where he set up as a medical doctor. he knew washington very well. in the early revolutionary period, he became involved in the independence movement. when the british counterattack, mercer was knocked from his horse. apparently, the british troops
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thought that they had captured general washington and demanded that he surrender. but mercer defended himself with a sword. this is actually the original silver-hilted sword that mercer had in his hand. you see in the background depiction from the painting of the death of mercer. with a boehner from the british bayonet fromith a the british regiment that attacked americans at princeton. these blades may have crossed mercer lay on the ground, fighting off british soldiers. he lingered for nine days. he became a kind of martyr for the american cause. when he eventually died, his body was brought here to philadelphia. it was placed on public exhibition, so that americans can see these horrible wounds that he had suffered. and then he was buried at price church here in philadelphia. if you fast forward to 1784,
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charles wilson peale, our painter, is commissioned by princeton university to do a full length portrait of general washington to hang in nassau hall. which still stands today in princeton. behind you here is a reproduction of that painting. princetone it in the university art gallery. notice here, nassau hall. very recognizable hall. both charles and james were participants in this battle. they knew well, and charles went and sketched the battlefield. they got all the details right. here at general washington's feet, you see the dying general mercer. and then in probably first photo bomb in american history, you'll see charles and james peale painted into the background of the scene. it's a nice way to bring their story full circle here from seeing them in that horrible condition on banks of the
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delaware to that victorious moment at the battle of princeton. chronologically, we're now in early 1777. and this is where our story moves to consider another group of people who had to make a choice about what they would do in the midst of this american civil war that is going on, the american revolution. that is native people. we focus on the oneida indian nation, located now in what is north central new york. aey were part of the iroquois -- iroquois confederacy of six nations that stretched from the mohawk valley to niagara falls. through an immersive media experience, we are actually in the middle of a group of men and women of the united nations as they debate how can they preserve their sovereignty and independence when both the british and the continental congress are now saying you have to make a choice and fight for one side or the other.
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so they reflect on what are the consequences of choosing one side or another or trying to remain neutral. for most of the six nations of the iroquois confederacy, they felt that the best choice was to side with the british. they felt that the expanding american colonies were much more a threat to their sovereignty than the british would be. for the oneida and tuscarora nations, they felt it was best to side with the americans. it actually pull apart and was kind of a civil war within their confederacy. that echo that civil war between the british.
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[indiscernible] >> later in 1777, the campaign and series of battles known as saratoga takes place in upstate new york. we tried to use the saratoga campaign as way to explore the experience of war for noncombatants. , a germanybaroness woman, she was married to the brunswick german troops. fighting with the british. often called hessians. but technically, they were brunswickers. her memoir, based on her diary that she kept through the campaign is remarkable. ,it is a great reminder of the psychological trauma that can come from experiencing war. we often, because we look at those wonderful, dramatic paintings by john trumbull, we think of the 18th century as a kind of glorious era with her
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like soldiers, flags flying. it's not the same kind of gritty view of conflict that we have for the american civil war. so the bitterness and her diary give us the opportunity to explore that experience of war through a noncombatant, who was there, watching along with the army. she cared for wounded. at one point, she spent several days in the basement of a house being bombarded i the americans who did not realize there were wounded there. they thought this was a command post. so using her diary, using objects associated with people that she encountered, even archaeological items from one of the prisoner of war camps that she lived in later in the war, because of course she and the e'sdiers from general burgoyn army were captured and treated as prisoners of war. we are able to tell her story. this is an english horse pistol.
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belonged to a major henry harnage who served in the 67th regiment of foot. this is one of the bridges -- british regiments with burgoyne. he was badly wounded in the battle of freeman farm, which took place during this series of actions around saratoga. after the battle, the baroness actually cared for harnage and mentioned him by name. that's an object she almost certainly saw at the time. it was kind of a witness object. he did recover from his wounds and became a prisoner of war, along with the baroness, through the rest of the conflict. we have also in this gallery, a display we call arms of independence. this is a tremendous collection of nearly 50 weapons that were carried by american forces during the revolutionary war.
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and a depiction in the center -- this is the painting, actually -- of the battle of princeton. you can see general washington brandishing his sword on the in the distance in the middle, -- general washington brandishing his sword on the left. in the distance, in the middle, you see a fallen white horse and a soldier who's helping general mercer. what's remarkable about this painting, the original -- after which is a copy -- the original was by james peale. so another connection to our peale. but this is a copy that was done by general mercer's son, william. who orphaned by the death of his father at the battle of princeton. who was apprenticed to the peale brothers to become a painter. and actually executed this copy in the early 1780's that included the depiction death of his father. again, a reminder of the real human dimension of the revolutionary war, which is often missing from most museums 'displays about this period.
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behind us here, this is an area when the museum is open and operating. we lined soldiers up here. visitors as soldiers. the doors open, and you're able to march in and actually mercernce a 4-d battlefield experience, being in the battle of brandywine on september 11, 1777. we tell the story of that largest land battle of the american revolution which is , ultimately an american defeat. and it is followed up a week and a half later by the british army marching into philadelphia. this is just a year following the declaration of independence, when philadelphia calls and will be occupied by the british for nine months. british troops, who on september 26, 1777 marched down chestnut street, march up to what we know
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as independence hall. and they turned that building, where the declaration of independence was adopted and signed, into a prison for american soldiers. that's the scene that we depicted in this tableau here. an american, wounded american officer being brought into independence hall. we've recreated the interior, very exacting here. we know about this particular scene through the diary of a elizabethan named drinker. we depict two quaker women who were part of a delegation who came to see these prisoners being brought in, to offer assistance and caring for the wounded. and this allows us to talk about yet another community of people. those who are pacifist or desire to be neutral. what is their experience of living in an occupied city here, in this case, philadelphia. while all of this is taking place here in the neighborhood of where we are in here, washington's army has marched into a desolate piece of ground
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called valley forge. and this becomes the scene of a six-month winter enchantment of the continental army. and probably the most a miss image of the margin to valley forge is this painting from the collection of the museum of the american revolution. this is william b.t. trego's to valley forge. march it's depicting soldiers the 19th of december, 1777. marching in to this desolate area, where they have to build their own log cities. building log huts and getting themselves under cover in the harshest of weather. a case with objects that have been recovered from some of the soldiers' huts, personal items, some of the axes that were used to build the huts. they were really under supplied with tools and shovels and spades. all part of the gear that they were using.
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we have also recruited their view, because, of course, most people think of snow when they think of valley forge. but the army did not march out of their encampment until june 19, 1778. they spent six full months in camp. so we have tried to show the appearance of grand parade in the center of the valley forge mcat men. all the kinds of people that you would have encountered there. troops in the background under going drill. sey reformed drill of baron teuben, who was inspector general. this officer becomes very important for the continental army reforming its training and , tactics and maneuvers. the troops are encamped in valley forge when the news comes that france has finally signed a treaty of alliance with the united states. and this, really, is the end of that question of how the revolution survived its darkest
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hour. the cars having declared 1776 -- because having declared independence in 1776 and then really gone it 1778, through 1777 into there is finally the prospect of foreign assistance, and there is a real rise in american confidence that they'll be able to achieve their independence. they go into that year with a lot of more confidence they'd have up until this point. believe it or not, viewers, we are halfway through the story. we have now answered the second of four questions we've gotten through 1778. we have now been through the darkest hour. we then ask the question of how revolutionary was the war? and this then starts to look at as the story moves on, as the war turns to the south. for instance in the later years, we start to look at loyalists, neutrals, and enslaved
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african-americans. what happen is their relationship to this revolutionary movement? we'll look at the fighting that takes place in the west as native people, toward end of the revolution, begin to deliver a series of devastating blows against the american forces. realizing that they are fighting desperately to hold on to land, to their independence. and then, of course, the revolution is not just a war. is american revolution broader transformation of american society. go to ae then finally series of galleries and experiences that asked the question what kind of nation did the revolutionaries create? formationhrough the of the united states constitution, its ratification, the inauguration of general washington. through the passing of that revolutionary generation. you will finally be able to look in the eyes of some of these people who witnessed these events, who took part in the american revolution, because
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they lived long enough and actually saw the age of photography. and we have about half of the surviving photographs of people who are alive during the revolution reproduced toward end , of the gallery. we take that story all the way through to the end. and then, you are able to actually see the original war time, -- tent, the field headquarters of general washington, which is displayed in its own theater and gallery here in the museum of the american revolution. the full story of this kind is presented in this theater pay above a tent itself is actually a wonderful emblem of the challenge of creating the exhibits in our museum. if you were to see this tent, spread out on a table, you probably would not give it a glance. second it's very old canvas. it's weather stained. it's tattered in places. it is over 240 years old, after all. but we had to make its story
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being the shelter in which , george washington made some most critical decision of the revolution, where he was plunged into the depths of despair, where he exulted in victory in success. decided, challenge, we was we had to show the tent as it was assembled in the field, when it was truly his command headquarters. but we couldn't put it up the way he did. because it was put up with tall poles and ropes tied to the fabric itself. that would literally pull that ancient fabric apart. instead, we challenged engineers to develop a very sophisticated umbrella structure, so that the tent appears to be fully assembled, and yet there is no tension, no damage done to it at all. that umbrella even had to replicate the slight curve, slight sag, in a taut line. it's not perfectly straight. once we solved all those problems, the next challenge is how do you tell the story? so we turned the filmmakers, historians, our lead vice
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president for collections, scott stephenson, and they huddled together and spent almost two years pulling together the story line, the imagery, thinking about the music. the presentation, the light quality to really give this tent meaning. our goal is to give meaning to george washington's leadership. he was commander-in-chief for eight years. never left his troops. and he inspired a sense of loyalty. he instilled a sense of responsibility in the army. that has really become the bedrock of the traditions of the american military ever since. without him, the army would likely have dissolved, and the war would have been lost. in many ways, it is an emblem for the entire museum. how do you take these small objects, how do you make them come alive and tell the incredible life and death decisions, the horrors, the courage, the excitement of the revolution. it's a turning point in history.
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and that is what we strive to do throughout this museum. it is a very exciting place. these objects, they really do speak when you visit. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> join us this weekend as the tour takes the tv to conquer, new hampshire as we explore the literary life the state's capital city. today at new, we look at how new hampshire became the first in the nation primary state. >> we still see ourselves as a place where a candidate can rise up from being a virtual national unknown to the common a
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contender for the nomination. p.m. eastern2:00 on american history tv, we will tour the new hampshire statehouse. >> new hampshire's house of representatives has the oldest continuously used legislative chambers in america. thehere is the room with largest state legislature in the united states works. >> and a visit to the home of franklin pierce twin about the life of the 14th president. tourn's cities today, working with visiting affiliates across the country. tonight at 10:00 eastern on "after words," david osborne on america'seinventing
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schools." >> my argument in the book is the places around the country that have embraced charters the most are also the fastest improving cities in the country. so i am not saying make every school, public school, a charter. i am saying if we look at the data and want to do what works for kids, let's treat every public school like a charter. we can call it something else. call it a district cool, innovation school, renaissance school, private school, whatever. but let's give of the autonomy so people who run the school can really make the decisions and create a role model that will work for the kids that they have to teach. them accountable for their performance. letif they do a great job,
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them open another school. if they do another job, replace them with a stronger operator. >> watch "after words" tonight at 10:00 eastern on c-span's book tv. tonight on the civil war, ralph peters talks about his book, judgment at -- "judgment at appomattox." it describes the last maneuvers generals as grand and robert e lee, which led to the surrender of the confederate army. >> at the beginning of the battle -- i will not even get to the bloodiest parts -- but i am trying to give voices to the dead, to bring them alive as people. how did they speak? how did they think? what was it like? these guys go forward in the dark. some of them have white cross bands. cloth tied toave their sleeves or to the back of their caller -- collar.
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so hopefully, you will see the white stripes. and in a night attack, you have to be shoulder to shoulder, literally touching the guy next to you. or things can spin out of control. as quietly as they could, they cleared obstacles. they got pioneers, engineers, ready to go forward. the way through their union, take fort stedman, pushed out, take the surrounding batteries, taking the flanking forts. everything is supposed to go right. but in war, nothing ever goes perfectly right. watch the entire program on the civil war tonight at 6:00 p.m. eastern. this is american history tv, only on c-span 3. >> historian spencer crew discusses the great migration,
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when over 6 million african-americans moved after world war i from the rural south to urban areas in the north and west. he focuses on the early 20th-century and the desire for better education, housing, and jobs. this is sony and associates hosted this event. it is about an hour 20 minutes. rebecca: our speaker tonight is spencer crew. he is the former director of the mega history museum across the mall. he teaches at george mason. he teaches american, african-american, and public history. i'm delighted he's able to join us tonight. please welcome spencer crew. [applause] prof. crew: hello. can he

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